Novelist Judy Blume took to Reddit to answer questions from readers this week.
A middle school teacher asked how to get her kids to read Blume’s classic work and asked how Blume felt about the popularity of YA series like The Hunger Games and Twilight. Blume responded with some sage advice:
Whatever gets them excited about reading is good! If you want them to read my books don’t tell them so. Maybe just leave around a paperback with a new cover and say, “I’m not sure you’re ready for that.” You know, it’s cyclical. When I started to write series were out. No publisher wanted a series. Some kids will always want to read about reality.
Blume also shared the genesis of a classic scene in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing where…
… the mischievous Fudge eats a turtle. Blume explained:
Read it in a newspaper. No kidding — a real toddler swallowed a tiny pet turtle. Wrote a picture book about it and got back great rejection letters. “Very funny but this would teach small children to swallow turtles.” Great editor suggested writing a longer book (chapter book) and using that story as the last chapter.